Rugby Challenge 2 is the type of game that only a fan of the sport can fully appreciate. That’s not to say you can’t have some fun in the game, but to fully appreciate everything the newest entry in the series has to offer, it would help to know something about the sport and how it is played beforehand. All that said, I am not one of those people, this was my first introduction to the European sport. But I did have some fun with it.
For the Americans in the crowd of readers who love a good sports game but are tired of the Madden or NBA annual entries, this may hold you over for a little while. If you stick through with it then perhaps you may find a new sports franchise to beat your friends at.
Rugby Challenge 2 has the type of campaign/career mode one would expect from a sports game. As in there is no real story, it just sends you along on your way, following your chosen team as you win match after match, or lose them if you were me. And what a range of teams you have to choose from, you can take your time and scroll through the 100 plus Rugby teams, or if you have a favorite you could get right down to it. Or perhaps you would rather get your hands a little dirtier and create and customize your own team or player, the option is there. Build your dream team and dominate match after match.
Most of the time the career modes on a sports game does not interest me, I try it out for the sake of getting into the game anyway, as I did in Rugby Challenge 2. But the majority of my time was spent in Single Match Mode, where you face off against another team in a stadium of your choosing, which there are a lot of, and attempt to win the game. It’s a little like instant action in a first-person shooter. No need to mess around with a ton of settings or get confused with menus, find your team, find your stadium, and get going to play some Rugby.
Online play may be a little daunting until you can master the controls and the rules of the game through single player matches. Once you get online things are little bit more fun as the other team is controlled by players. You can have up to four other people on a team, meaning the game is 4v4.This divides the responsibilities up a little bit and offers you a group of teammatea who, hopefully, know what they are doing enough to score multiple goals.
I cannot stress enough the need to know and understand the sport of Rugby, even going through all of the tutorials and listening to everything the game is downright confusing. Rugby Challenge 2 was created for a niche market of gamers. While the majority of the game plays pretty similar to American Football, there are rules within that will easily throw off the majority of players. Your players will form a giant mass and push against the opposing team who has also done the same, the team who pushes the other the furthest wins the little contest.
Fans of the first Rugby Challenge game will be happy to hear of the new improvements and features included in Rugby Challenge 2. Including the ability to quick tap and intercept, a favorite of mine. There is nothing better than stealing the ball from the opposing team as they are doing well and getting closer to your end zone. Is it called end zone in Rugby? Either way the new features will more than likely win over some new fans and old.
Once you get the hang of the controls everything is fine, the game seems less daunting and a little easier to approach. Passing the ball one way or another is a simple tap of the S or D key, tossing the ball to the nearest member of your team and hoping your rivals don’t swarm like flies. Most often they do however, leading you to one of those little mini-game type of deals. Which are handled pretty well, considering they are part of the game. Matching up the lines increases the power of your push like a skateboarding game, this is simple enough to accomplish and more often than not I succeeded. Should the ball go out of bounds you will need to do a throw in to your team, this one can get a little frustrating, not because of the game mechanics but because of the sports rules. Should the player who catches the ball hold onto it too long, you will receive a penalty, handing off the ball to the opposing team. You need to pass that ball as soon as it touches your hands to be able to hang onto it for the potential of running or kicking it through the goal posts.
Rugby Challenge 2 has some great sound. With some real-life Rugby commentators doing what they do best while you play the game. Everything sounds good, the cheers of the crowd, the sound of the ball hitting a player as he catches it from a pass, and the whistle of the referee as you receive one of many penalties.
Graphically Rugby Challenge 2 is nothing to complain about, the game looks great. Detail surrounds the gamer on everything from the players and the stadiums to the grass you are running around on. Sports games tend to get these physical objects correct the majority of the time, because there isn’t much else to look at. Rugby Challenge 2 is no different; everything was gone over with care and then gone over again to ensure it looked good enough for your eyes.
All in all Rugby Challenge 2 is the kind of game you really need to be looking forward to to enjoy it fully. Should you pick it up on a whim you may not have nearly as much fun as a longtime fan of the series or sport. As neither of those however I do have to say the game was fun, I did enjoy my time in it, but I don’t think I will start watching the sport or playing the game daily, I’m too set in my American ways I guess. I do recommend picking this up if you are any of the aforementioned type of fans.
Review copy provided by Tru Blue Entertainment, thank you from the team at OnlySP!
ONLY SINGLE PLAYER SCORE
Story – N/A
Gameplay/Design – 7/10
Visuals – 8/10
Sound – 7/10
Lasting Appeal – 6/10
Overall – 7/10
(Not an average)
Platform: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Publisher: Tru Blue Entertainment